Life-Threatening Coalition Attempting to Form in Lakewood, New Jersey: Tens of Thousands at Risk

(By Rabbi Yair Hoffman for the Five Towns Jewish Times) Imagine, Heaven forbid, the following headlines: “Measles Outbreak in Lakewood, New Jersey” There is a group of people attempting to form a coalition that could quite likely cause these headlines to appear in the very near future.  According to the Center for Disease Control each year 146,000 people worldwide die of measles – most of them children and in locations where they do not vaccinate. This week, an email went out asking people in Lakewood to join a “coalition” that will essentially force Lakewood schools to take in children whose parents refuse to vaccinate their children. The email further states that, “this coalition depends on a collective voice and will not be launched until we reach a minimum of 250 families. If you live in Lakewood and have made a decision not to vaccinate your children, we encourage you to please take a few moments to sign up to join the coalition..” It is most disturbing that people are trying to make this happen in Lakewood, New Jersey, of all places, because as was mentioned at the levaya of Rebbitzen Rishel Kotler aleha hashalom by one of the Maspidim – she was at the forefront of helping people who could not afford it – get vaccinated! The email could also adversely affect the support of Torah Mosdos.  If people find out that Bnei Torah in Lakewood denigrate the views of leading doctors and pediatricians – it could lead to an erosion of financial support for the Torah Mosdos in Lakewood. Many of the pediatricians in Lakewood have attempted to address this fallacious view, but to no avail.  What is necessary is for the leading Rabbonim in Lakewood to put a stop to this madness. GRAVE CHILLUL HASHEM The very existence of such a coalition in the heart of a Torah community is a grave Chillul Hashem.  The Torah tells us in Parshas VaEschanan (Dvarim 4:6), “ki hi chochmaschem uvinaschem l’einei ha’amim” that the Torah is knowledge and wisdom in the eyes of the gentiles.   The B’chor Shor – gives the very example of a doctor prescribes a bitter medication to a Choleh – that he will take it no matter how bitter – certainly in regard to Torah. This group is placing at risk tens of thousands of children in the Lakewood school system – not only risking measles, but also mumps, rubella, polio, and whooping cough.  These are very serious diseases, and are all easily preventable. EMPLOYS PRO-CHOICE TERMINOLOGY Shockingly, this group has employed the language of the “pro-choice” pro-abortion movement in order to lessen the impact of what they are proposing:  The fact that they are advocating to ignore the advice of all doctors, pediatricians, and the Center for Disease Control.  The group even claims to have some Rabbinic backing. VIEW OF GEDOLIM The fact is that Gedolei HaPoskim have encouraged vaccinations and have even labelled them obligatory (See Psakof Rav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg Shlita – Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zatzal’s son-in-law). Rav Elyashiv zatzal had labelled this along with the Alternative Medicine movement dangerous to Klal Yisroel.   Gedolim have written that where there is concern for an epidemic, vaccination is obligatory. (See Minchas Tzvi, siman 9, and Rabbi Eliezer Yehudah Waldenberg, zt’l, in Tzitz Eliezer, and Rav … Continue reading Life-Threatening Coalition Attempting to Form in Lakewood, New Jersey: Tens of Thousands at Risk